Sunday, February 18, 2018

'Childhood' from PeteF: Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler?

Arthur Lowe said of Dad's Army "We expected the show to have limited appeal, to the age group that lived through the war and the Home Guard. We didn't expect what has happened - that children from the age of five upwards would enjoy it too."

I was one of those children and Dad's Army was one of the great television comedies in the dim and distant days of 1970s Britain, a land with only three television channels.  My family loved the show, which was an unexpected hit - stretching to 9 series between 1968 and 1977 and 80 episodes.  

Mainwaring: "Stupid Boy"

"Just testing you, Wilson"
These eight characters reminded me of those days and as I painted them I couldn't get the theme song out of my head. I'm wondering whether I want to spring for an all region DVD player so I can watch the whole series again - maybe my boy would enjoy it? We are working through all the classic war movies but maybe the Home Guard would be lost on him.

Wilson: Do you think that's wise, Sir?

Pike: Mum won't like it Uncle Arthur
The Home Guard was formed from the men who were too old or infirm to join front-line fighting units. The Dad's Army unit included a veteran of the Mahdist War (Jones - frequent references to Kitchener), a bank manager (Mainwaring) and a retired shop assistant (Godfrey). The TV series did a lot to develop public perceptions of the Home Guard - which is now thought of fondly. Fortunately Operation Sealion was cancelled and the real Home Guard did not have to do any fighting to defend the homeland - although Dad's Army did have a hilarious encounter with downed German airmen.

The character in black is Hodges, an air raid warden. Part of their job was to ensure that people obeyed blackout restrictions so that German bomber pilots could not use town and city lights for navigation.

Jones: Don't Panic! Don't Panic! (I wonder if Jones inspired Douglas Adams)

Fraser: We're Doooomed!
From a painting point of view this is my first attempt at WW2 for Bolt Action - I went for much more bold highlighting than I normally do to make up for the dullness of khaki uniforms. I couldn't find a really good 28mm guide to the right colours so played around with mixtures of khaki, english uniform and russian uniform (as well as some other browns and greens) to get colours that seemed close to pictures of the characters I found online.

This was the first time I've attempted eye glasses and an all black uniform - I found some great guidance from bloggers and I'm happy with the results.

Godfrey: I was thirty five years in the Army & Navy [a store]

Walker: Sir, I've got an idea
The set is from Warlord and I thought I might use it for Bolt Action Operation Sealion scenarios - although I can't imagine removing any of these guys as casualties. The Warlord metal sculpts are excellent - I love the facial detail that they put in and I'm wondering whether to get the set with the same characters in their civilian clothes (maybe could be used in A Very British Civil War?).

Hodges: Put that light out (or "Ruddy Hooligans!")
If you are not familiar with the show - apologies for the references/quotes - they won't be as funny to you as they are to me! 

Hodges - Who do you think you are?Mainwaring - We're the Local Defense Volunteers, and I'm their appointed commander, Captain Mainwaring, and I must ask you to keep your hands off my privates
The Second World War cast quite a shadow over my childhood in 1970s Britain - from trash mags (comics with British heroics) to Warlord Magazine (where even the Pacific front got a British tinge with Union Jack Jackson) to Dad's Army. As children my Dad was close to being killed by a bomb in Portsmouth and my mum was evacuated from her home in London for the duration. I think Dad's Army  struck a special chord with their generation too.

8 x 28mm foot figures - 40 points. Warlord Games.

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler
if you think we're on the run?
We are the boys who will stop your little game.
We are the boys who will make you think again.
'Cause who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler,
If you think old England's done?
Mr. Brown goes off to town on the eight twenty-one,
But he comes home each evening and he's ready with his gun.
So who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler,
If you think old England's done?


  1. These are Fantastic Pete - they look just like the actors, you've captured them to a T. A classic from my childhood too, thanks for the flashback

  2. Whenever it is repeated on TV, I always watch it. I bought this set a couple of years ago, and this will inspire me to paint them up - I only hope I can do them as much justice as you have. I met Bill Pertwee (Warden Hodges) a few years ago, and he was a delightful chap.

    Remember "Don't tell them your name Pete"
    Richard C

  3. What a great choice and like Richard I have the same set that really do need to see some paint. Absolutely smashing work Pete.

  4. I've never actually seen the show, but the figures have lots of character. Well done.

  5. Never seen the show but heard lots of fun stories about it. Fun entry

  6. Very nice work, Richard! The colors look very good, and the show was pretty funny. I'd like to pair these up with Kelly's Heroes! ;)

    1. Thanks. I was looking at those on the Warlord website the other day... They're definitely going to find their way onto the lead mountain.

  7. An awesome entry and fabulous painting. I really like Hodges.

  8. Super tribute to this wonderful programme!